How We Made It: Adtran “Wonder” Campaign
When the internet was born, it brought with it an endless frontier for mankind to explore. This new landscape has and will continue to have its challenges and triumphs, but above all it has nurtured our inherent sense of wonder. Its growth and proliferation have been so rapid and exciting that it’s almost hard to keep up. There is no doubt it is shaping the future, but where it will take us next is a complete mystery. The internet is a global community, and as it grows we hope it continues to prove itself as a mighty tool for humanity. Those who built it are still building and will continue to build long into the future. They are everyday people, and the ones we should remember when we marvel at this phenomenon: a contemporary wonder of the world.
One of our longest client relationships has been with Adtran, a Huntsville, Alabama based telecommunications corporation dedicated to bringing the world together through technology and innovation. We have worked on many projects with Adtran and have grown to understand the brand, part of which is to support the builders and engineers who continuously make the internet so promising.
Adtran came to us with an idea of creating a video campaign to honor these builders and engineers for their curiosity and hard work. As we do with most of our clients, we collaborated with their internal marketing team and were able to visualize the theme and the title for Wonder. This provided an excellent prompt, which they entrusted upon our team to then conceptualize the entire project. Most importantly, the amount of creative freedom allowed by Adtran can be seen in the final product. Our goal was to figure out how to produce a digestible and engaging piece to honor the builders and engineers while conveying an equal significance to their accomplishments.
From the beginning, we knew we wanted the video to have an on-screen host to personified the internet’s fast pace and omnipresent nature. This concept meant that the host would transcend both space and time. The challenge then was to figure out how to convey that transcendence on film. It came to us that a simple doorway could serve as the portal, transporting our host from place to place and time to time. An inspiration for this concept came from Paul Thomas Anderson’s music video for Radiohead’s single “Daydreaming.”
In the music video, Anderson uses strategic cuts to create the illusion that Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke, is walking through a door in one place and coming out through the other side in a new location. This practical effect has a surreal payoff, and it aligned with our vision for “Wonder.”
With top of the line talent Atlanta-based actor, Marie Burke, and a 250 pound stand-alone door frame, we launched into production. Starting on the Florida Gulf Coast and ending back home in Chattanooga for the first video, production took about four days all together. With a small crew, we were able to be agile and adaptive (with all of the thunderstorms dancing around our locations, we kind of had to be). This flexibility allowed for sudden schedule changes in order to shoot between the rains and capture the perfect light.
Production for second video began a month later. Only this time, we kept locations near by for a quick turnaround. Focusing on the rural communities and those laying the foundation for world wide internet access, we used a farm just outside of Chattanooga for our first location. We shot on the roof of a parking garage in downtown Atlanta for the urban scene — which was across the street from one of Marvel’s owned location. Pretty cool.
Overall, this has been one of our favorite projects due to the positive response we received from Adtran. It’s an honor to have produced something that pays much needed respect to those who showed us the door… in a good way.